Small class sizes are crucial for learning at the younger grades, but may be less important as children mature, according to a new study.
The report, called "Smart Class-Size Policies for Lean Times" and released in March by the Southern Regional Educational Board, comes as state education departments have repeatedly cut costs by increasing class sizes, and when critics are questioning the significance of small classes and the success of liberal education reform policies.
Complicating matters is the high cost of reducing class size -- one of the most expensive education reforms. Lowering the nationwide average K-12 class size would cost $10 billion a year, the report finds. Furthermore, decreasing class size would require more teacher positions to be filled, and could lower average teacher quality in the process.